Pay-television operator Dish Network (DISH) - Get Report and Fox Corp. (FOX) - Get Report  reached an impasse in their rate negotiations.

Dish said on Thursday that Fox networks will be blacked out in 17 markets across 23 states and Washington, D.C.

Football fans will take a big hit if the dispute is not resolved this weekend, with the National Football League week 4 schedule and college football's week 5 contests set to get under way.

Dish Network said that Fox blocked Dish customers' access to the channels. A Fox spokeswoman told TheStreet that Fox officials sent a letter Thursday morning to Dish, looking to extend negotiations and avoid a blackout.

"DISH/Sling is at it again, choosing to drop leading programming as a negotiating tactic regardless of the impact on its own customers. DISH/Sling elected to drop FOX networks in an effort to coerce us to agree to outrageous demands," a Fox spokesperson said.

"While we regret this is DISH/Sling's preferred approach to negotiating, we remind our loyal viewers that the FOX services are widely available through every other major television provider."

Dish claims that Fox is demanding a double-digit percentage rate increase for Dish to carry the channel on its platform.

Dish also says the company is forcing customers to carry channels they don't want as part of a plan to increase retransmission revenue by 62% to $2.6 billion by 2022. 

"Taken together, Fox's actions are profoundly anti-consumer," said Andy LeCuyer, DISH senior vice president of programming, in a statement.

"Fox is raising prices and turning its back on its public obligation to provide channels to consumers for free. It's clear that Fox cares more about padding its bottom line than serving its viewers."

Dish shares were down 2.9% to $34 Thursday while Fox was down 1.7% to $31.47. 

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